Kalama junior guard Haley Bannister and freshman post Kaelyn Shipley were thorns in the side of the Cascade Christian girls basketball team Saturday night.
Bannister scored a team-high 16 points and Shipley finished with 13 as Kalama (20-4) clinched a spot in the Class 1A state tournament with a 58-42 win in Auburn.
Cascade Christian senior guard Olivia Tuttle hit five 3-pointer and finished with a game-high 20 points, but the Cougars (17-6) were eliminated.
The state tournament will be held at the Yakima SunDome.
“This is really big for us,” Bannister said. “It’s been decades since we’ve even gotten past districts.”
Kalama extended its early lead to 18 points late in the third quarter but saw its advantage begin to evaporate in the fourth.
Tuttle hit back-to-back 3s with 6:27 left in regulation to cut the Chinooks’ lead to 47-39. Kalama responded with an 11-3 run to close out Cascade Christian.
“We knew we could keep the lead,” Bannister said. “We just had to slow it down and keep it in control. We just needed to not get out of our system.
“We made our shots when we needed to make them,” she said. “We’re good at pushing the ball and finishing really good. We have two freshman posts (Shipley and Parker Esary) who can drive, and we have shooters on the outside.”
Cascade Christian head coach Bryan Peterson said his team was tentative in the first half.
“I thought we were far more aggressive in the second half,” he said. “If we had played that way in the first half, we would have never gotten down by so much.
“When you get down by 18, you’ve got to do everything you can to come back,” Peterson said. “We tried with everything we had.”